The upcoming Fujifilm GFX100S has a brand new film simulation called Nostalgic Negative. Even though this camera hasn’t even been released yet, I’ve had many requests to create a film simulation recipe for it. That’s a tough challenge because there’s so little about Nostalgic Negative that’s known and very few sample pictures floating around the internet.
Back when Eterna was new—before I had a chance to try it myself—I made a faux “Eterna” recipe, and it turned out to be not particularly close. Even though it didn’t faithfully mimic Eterna, it’s one of the more popular recipes on this website. When Classic Negative first came out, I made a faux “Classic Negative” recipe, and even though it also turned out to be not particularly close, I’ve had several people tell me that it’s their favorite recipe. There’s two important points to this: 1) this “Nostalgic Negative” recipe will likely turn out to be an inaccurate facsimile to the real Nostalgic Negative film simulation and 2) there are people who love it anyway. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into what Nostalgic Negative is and how you can achieve a similar aesthetic on your Fujifilm X camera.
Fujifilm stated that the Nostalgic Negative film simulation is based on “American New Color” photography of the 1970’s. They studied photographs by William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Richard Misrach in order to create it. Eggleston and Sternfeld largely shot on Kodachrome—II and X in the early 1970’s, 25 and 64 in the late ’70’s—while Shore shot mostly Kodacolor, and Misrach shot a lot of Vericolor. All of those are Kodak films, but with different aesthetics. These four photographers had different styles and different darkroom processes, and they each had a unique look; the commonality that Fujifilm found was an “overall atmosphere based on amber.” That’s a basic explanation of what Nostalgic Negative is.
I didn’t count, but I’d estimate that I found about 20 examples of the Nostalgic Negative film simulation on the internet. I noticed that there were some large discrepancies between the pictures, as some looked much different than others. I wondered if the default settings were used on some images and not others, and if some of them weren’t straight-out-of-camera but had received some level of post-processing. I also wondered if Nostalgic Negative behaves similarly to Classic Negative in that the aesthetic changes a little depending on the exposure. There’s a lot of uncertainty to what exactly the new film simulation looks like. Overall, I think you can expect something along the lines of Eterna gradation, the Classic Chrome color palette (however, with a warm shift), and vibrancy a little beyond Astia. Low-contrast, high-saturation and warm is a quick synopsis of Nostalgic Negative.
Interestingly, there are some already existing film simulation recipes that come close to Nostalgic Negative. My Eterna recipe (and there are versions for X-Trans II, X-Trans III and X-Trans IV cameras) is almost identical to one of the aesthetics that I found in the sample pictures. The contrast is likely slightly too high in those recipes, but it’s very close. For some other sample pictures, I thought that the Kodachrome 64 recipes (the X-T1 recipe, the X-T30 recipe and the X100V recipe, but especially the X100V version) are pretty darn close. For some other pictures, the Kodak Vision3 250D recipe looks quite similar, while this Kodacolor recipe looks close to some others. I think that my Kodak Gold, Kodachrome II, Kodak Ultramax (both for X-Trans III and X-Trans IV), Kodak Ektar, Kodak Portra 800, Kodak Portra 400 (both X-T30 and X100V), Kodak Portra 400 v2 (both the X-T30 recipe that’s only available right now to Patrons on Fuji X Weekly App and X100V), and Polaroid (although perhaps increase Color) have some similarities to Nostalgic Negative. If you have an X-Trans II, III or IV camera, you already have some options that are in the neighborhood of this new film simulation, so don’t fret that your camera doesn’t have it. You’ll just have to decide which option you like best.
Speaking of your camera not having Nostalgic Negative: it’s not coming to X-Trans IV, in my opinion. Fujifilm said, “For Nostalgic Negative, Fujifilm needs a large sensor. It can’t be implemented simply to APS-C. Fujifilm needs time to develop Nostalgic Negative for the APS-C system.” To me, that’s code-speak for, “Expect it on X-Trans V cameras.” Of course, Fujifilm hasn’t announced that sensor yet, so they can’t talk about it, but that’s where I would expect to see it.
I don’t know if this new recipe that I created will turn out to be accurate to Nostalgic Negative. Most likely not, but I hope that you like it anyway. I chose Clarity -5 because that’s the best I could do for imitating the gradation of Eterna, but feel free to use -4 or -3 if you feel that -5 is too much for your tastes. On cameras that can adjust by .5, I would consider setting Shadow to -0.5 instead of 0. This recipe is only compatible with the Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3, X-T4, X-S10 and (the upcoming) X-E4.
Dynamic Range: DR200
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Weak, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Strong
White Balance: Auto, +3 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new “Nostalgic Negative” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:
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